The Cubs have talked a lot about getting off to a good start, especially in the wake of last year's 61-101 record.

But 1-0 after Monday's tense 3-1 victory isn't the kind of "good start" the Cubs have in mind. Something along the lines of 6-4, 7-3 or 12-8 will constitute a good start for this bunch.

A winning start should set a positive tone for this club and build confidence. Team president Theo Epstein talked about it before Monday's game.

"I think you take a realistic assessment of where you are in the standings relative to your opposition, the quality of your own club, the health of your own club," Epstein said. "You make an assessment at that time. I think that a good start is important for many reasons.

"One is that we haven't had good starts around here as a rule. A good start can create momentum in and of itself that maybe transcends where it puts you in the standings because there is a confidence that builds.

"Players start to get a sense of destiny. Those close games can really start to go your way when you believe. Conversely, a bad start can put you in a position where those things are harder to come by.

"A good start is really important, especially with us. We're facing a tough schedule early, which means our schedule is easier later. And we're banged up right now."